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20110701
20110731
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in the last four years, during the daunting challenges of the worse in iraq and afghanistan have been truly remarkable and the nation owes him our deepest gratitude. it is appropriate at today's hearing also to note the passing last week of former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, retired arm general john shalikashivili. his personal story is well known, rising from post-world war ii immigrant youth to chairman of the joint chiefs. his example of patriotism, leadership and selfless service to the nation and our armed forces inspired the generation that leads our military today. for those of us who knew him, we treasured his professionalism, his candor, and his deep love for america and our men and women in uniform. general denver mpsey's confirma will help the transition to president obama's new security team which have seen significant changes in the last few months. the next chairman will face demanding challenges, operations in afghanistan and iraq continue to at the same time the fiscal realities that confront the nation will put tremendous pressures on the defense department's bud
and reconstruction in afghanistan. the great majority of which has been channeled through private contractors. we know from experience in bosnia in the 1990's and more recently in iraq that a reduction in troop levels as not mean a drop in contractor activity. in some cases, it is a matter of increase. there has been increase reliance on contractors to fulfill the logistical roles once performed by the military in those instances. eventually, the contractor presence will also decrease as we move support of large-scale off-budget scanned it -- spending to more direct to the afghan government directly. this is why our reconstruction strategy must focus on insuring that afghans can sustain what we have helped build. how many additional schools and health, as we can construct, but also that there are teachers and health care officials to sustain those institutions. whether afghans have the resources and expertise to manage the long-term operation and maintenance of power plants. on a related note, as we encourage more contracting with local afghan firms under the afghan first policy, we must consider
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